Orville Gibson started creating handmade mandolins and guitars from his home workshop in 1894 and as well as developing two shapes of mandolin during this time, he was also granted a patent for his design in 1898. From here on, the Gibson name has become associated with the production of some of the best guitars in the world, including the now iconic range of Les Paul Gibson guitars.
The famous guitar company Gibson actually started out in the business of crafting mandolins. Orville Gibson, creator of the company, initially crafted mandolins from a workshop at his home address. Due to huge demand caused by the unsurpassed quality of his mandolins, the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company was established in 1902. Within 6 months, Gibson has fallen out with the board and sold his stock to a local saloon keeper.
The truss rod and bridge which are still used in modern guitar design were first introduced by the Gibson company in 1921. This design was used for many years and modern jazz guitars still use this same bridge design to create the unique sound that such guitars require. Gibson guitars still use this truss rod design to this day so if you already own one or are looking to purchase a Gibson, whatever model it may be, you will gain first-hand experience of what was a major change in the guitar industry.
The next major innovation came in 1954 when the company invented the tune-o-matic bridge. This has adjustable saddles and, again, is still utilised in the design and manufacture of Gibson guitars. The humbucking pickup was first added to Gibson guitars in 1976. In the 21st Century, Gibson has innovated through the introduction of the digital guitar in 2002 and the Robotic Guitar, which can tune itself, in 2007.
There have been many different lines of Gibson guitar introduced over time. The first electric guitar produced by the company, the EH-150 saw the market in 1935 and was quickly followed by a Spanish styled equivalent called the ES-150. The iconic Les Paul guitar was introduced in 1952 and continues to be made available by the company in a number of different designs and models.